BC realtor ordered to support children of man who doused him in lighter fluid | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC realtor ordered to support children of man who doused him in lighter fluid

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In a strange twist in a divorce case, a BC realtor was ordered to pay more than $4,300 per month to support the three children of a man who once doused him in lighter fluid with intention to set him on fire.

Realtor John McLeod had had an affair with the man's wife, also a realtor, and he reacted violently, assaulting McLeod and dousing him in lighter fluid in 2012. The man has since seemingly disappeared and has never paid child support for his three children.

McLeod and Laurissa Code never married but were business partners and lived together as partners until they separated in 2020. 

A BC Supreme Court Justice ruled McLeod must take on the monthly payments as well as contribute to the private school education of the three children, plus nearly $130,000 in back pay for the years since they separated. 

When dividing the assets, Justice Nathan Smith said normally McLeod's obligations for child support as a stepparent would be much lower. But because Code's ex-husband has evaded service and all attempts by Family Maintenance Enforcement to collect — McLeod had to pay the full shot.

"Primacy must be given to the children’s standard of living. Where the biological parent fails to pay child support and/or is unable to do so, the stepparent may be ordered to pay the full table amount," Justice Smith said. "Although the children’s natural father has the primary responsibility to support the children, it is clear that he has failed to do so for many years."

The Lower Mainland realtors were in a "volatile" on-and-off relationship for eight years that began with an affair in 2012 while they were both married. By 2013 they were both divorced, then lived together at various times, constituting a "marriage-like relationship", Smith found. 

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Code's ex-husband was ordered to pay child support once they separated, but after a few months the payments stopped. Code said he has no income and has rarely seen their kids.

Code and McLeod meanwhile lived together in two brief stints, once lasting more than two years.

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It wasn't all losses for McLeod, though.

Code bought a vacation property in the North Shuswap in 2019 for $1.2 million — now worth $1.5 million — in her own name and she paid the mortgage. Code accused McLeod of "inserting himself into the transaction when it had always been her intention to purchase the property on her own."

In court, she sought sole title to the lake house "relying on what she says was an understanding throughout their relationship that she and the respondent would maintain separate property, except for any assets that were specifically held jointly." She produced a cohabitation agreement from 2018 setting out that fact.

"(She) says that she initiated the purchase of the lake house because of her love for the region, and she has a strong emotional attachment to the property," Smith wrote. "She also says she contributed the majority of funds to its purchase and has since paid most of the money necessary for its upkeep."

Unfortunately, neither of them signed the agreement. 

So he got half.

"The lake house was purchased during the relationship and, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, each spouse is entitled to an undivided one-half interest, regardless of their respective contributions."

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